Looking even further south…
Time for another winter ball update, this time a few coordinates to the south and the Venezuelan Winter League.
Before we get into it, an update on the Revs in Mexico… Corey Thurman is now 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA through 4 starts with Navojoa. He suffered his first loss on Saturday, but only allowed 4 runs in 6 innings. Val Majewski is hitting .243 in 10 games with Hermosillo.
Now to Venezuela… simply parusing rosters in alphabetical order of team name, Ducks pitcher Mike Parisi is the first Atlantic League name that pops up, has a 2.55 ERA through 3 starts for Bravos de Margarita. Parisi was part of a terrific 1-2 punch with Mike Loree through the first half of the season before signing with the Dodgers. Two familiar names who are teammates of his are former Padres infielder Sean Burroughs and journeyman catcher Henry Blanco, both big league vets.
Three pitchers with Atlantic League ties dot the roster of the Cardenales de Lara, beginning with former Revs reliever (2007) Jeff Farnsworth, who’s allowed 6 runs in 4 innings through 3 appearances. Farnsworth was a member of that inaugural Revs team before the Boston Red Sox purchased his contract late in 2007. He then resurfaced with Southern Maryland as a starter in 2008 and has pitched in Italy in recent years as well. One of his teammates is a great Atlantic League success story in Scott Patterson, who went from Lancaster to the big leagues. He’s allowed only 1 hit through 3 scoreless innings in Venezuela this winter. And lastly, Jarrett Grube, onetime starter for Southern Maryland. He’s been dominant through two starts with Lara. Cesar Izturis is also on the roster, but is off to just a 2-for-23 start at the plate.
The only Atlantic Leaguer on the roster of Caribes de Anzoategui is Jon Hunton… his claim to fame in York? Took the loss in Game 4 of this year’s Championship Series when the Revs scored 4 times in the 8th to finish off the Ducks. In winter ball, however, Hunton already has 6 saves and has a 2.00 ERA. One of his teammates is longtime major leaguer Dmitri Young, though he’s only hitting .143 through 9 games.
Former Riversharks catcher Raul Padron is playing for Leones del Caracas, and is hitting .279 with a homer in 15 games. Padron was in Camden the last two seasons before signing with Cleveland midway through 2011.
We hit jackpot with Navegantes del Magallanes. A ton of familiar names here. In no particular order… Erold Andrus, who is just 4-for-17 at the plate in 8 games. Position player teammates are former Revs catcher Salomon Manriquez (2-for-13 start) and longtime big league outfielder and former Long Island Duck Richard Hidalgo (.171). So the offensive production from the Atlantic League guys on that squad isn’t great, but pitching-wise, the feel-good story of 2011, Jerome Williams, who started in Lancaster, signed with the Angels, made it to the majors this season and went 4-0 for the Angels down the stretch, is 3-0 and has allowed only an unearned run in his first 3 starts in Venezuela. Another former Barnstormer, Eric Junge has made one start for Magallanes. Former Patriots hurler Andy Van Hekken has also made one start, while Jose Sanchez, who pitched in Lancaster last season (once against Jesus Sanchez) has a 2.55 ERA through 4 starts (no decisions). There is indeed a Jesus Sanchez on the team but it’s not our Jesus Sanchez. This one is only 24 years old and was once traded by the Yankees to the Phils for Bobby Abreu and the late Cory Lidle in 2006. He hasn’t been higher than Double-A.
A lot of Barnstormer connections on the Tiburones de La Guaira roster as well. Terry Tiffee is there, hitting .281 with a homerun through his first 15 games. Jeff Bennett, who started against the Revs in Game 1 of the Division Series, is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA for their pitching staff, and is teammates with Les Walrond (1-0, 0.96 through 3 starts) who was with Lancaster early this season before signing with the Phillies. Heath Totten is also on the staff… he’s 1-2 with a 7.07 ERA through 3 starts. Pitched in 4 games in relief for the Revs in 2008 before the Dodgers purchased his contract.
And finally Tigres de Aragua, the stomping grounds of one Ramon Castro this winter. Castro is hitting .263 through his first 8 games this winter season. I remember talking with him after championship-clinching win (one month ago TODAY), and he told me his winter season was starting just a few days later. As much as we all love the game, it still boggles my mind how these guys go from one long marathon of a season right into another with virtually no break. Familiar names on his team include Jonel Pacheco, an outfielder with both the Riversharks and Road Warriors this season (hitting .313 through 7 games), Lastings Milledge (NY Mets), and Edgardo Alfonzo who will turn 38 next week (hitting .286, played in over 1,500 MLB games and suited up for Bridgeport, Long Island, and Newark in our league). Edgardo’s nephew, 26-year-old Edgar, is a pitcher on the team.
That’s it for Venezuela. A few former Revs here and there. Still have both the Dominican and Puerto Rican Winter Leagues to overview in the coming days.